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As Realism Creeps In (Again), Reeling Jazz Visit

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Y'all made fun of the Rally Graph after the Kings swept the Lakers and Hornets in a back-to-back at the start of this bludgeoning 12-game span. But the damn Rally Graph had its sweet vengeance, knocking the Kings back in games against the Celtics and the Spurs. The Kings are now 2-2 over this rough stretch, pretty freaking good by the standards of this season. The Jazz are the next foe in line.

Utah's struggled for almost a month, with three wins in its last 12 games. That span has included an injury to Deron Williams -- he'll play against the Kings, so bear down, gamblers -- and a whole lot of mediocre defense. On the season, the Jazz are No. 15 in shooting defense, No. 26 in defensive rebounding and No. 30 -- as you'd expect, given Jerry Sloan's entire coaching career -- in foul rate. That and the team's above-average turnover creation rate adds up to the league's No. 18 defense, which is quite a drop from last year's No. 10 finish.

The Kings' offense remains a work in progress, so an opposing defense less effective than that of the last four foes (all top-10 in the NBA) should be a welcome respite. That said, the Kings register plenty of turnovers (many unforced), so relying on a big advantage on the offensive glass and some success attacking the rim can only be a part of Sacramento's gameplan, not the whole thing. In other words, the Kings need to share the ball and get open shots. Not a shock that that would be important for this team.

Please check out HighTops' scouting report for fun and education. Tip is at 7 PM Pacific. Game threads at 7 and 8:30. Let's go Kings.